Thursday, January 11, 2007

Collaboration, not resistance

Melbourne writer Mondy's in town on wedding business, and last night he popped over to work on the joint project we've been hatching for the last month or so.

Collaborative writing's not for everyone. Comics and novel scribe Gordon Rennie called it 'a mysterious black art, its secrets known only to a few master practitioners':
'My experiences did give me the following vital insights into the workings of the co-authoring process:
[1] Co-writing is basically twice the work for half the money.
[2] Thinking it'll be fun to write something with a mate is a disaster in the making.
[3] It's possible I might just be a really awkward git to work with.'
Judge Dredd Megazine, Issue 209, Aug 2003

For every writer that can work comfortably with others (and when you consider the prevalence of the Writers' Room style of TV script-writing in the US, there are no shortage of them), there are several more for whom it's anathema.

My first few stories were written in a metaphorical vacuum. Only the patience of friends willing to comment on my stories gave me any kind of sounding board for my ideas, and after a few times you can sense even their tolerance for critiquing starting to wane.

My experience on Old Friends, however, beaming ideas back and forth between writers via email in order to create an overarcing plot for the three stories, was a wholly positive one. Scenarios I'd never have thought of before would shoot up like weeds as a result of those communications, so the idea of working on a script with another writer didn't immediately fill me with terror.

That said, last night was the first time I've actually sat at the same table as another writer and attempted to thrash out a plot ...

I'm pleased to say that it went very well - it didn't hurt that Mondy's tastes for spectacle run close to my own. Four hours, several beers and a variety of trashed ideas later, we had the framework for two-thirds of our story. Once my magazine work eases off, I'll deal with the final third based on our conversations and I'll be ready for a first draft.

There have been communiques from Mark Deniz up north, meanwhile, that suggest an imminent announcement regarding the In Bad Dreams horror anthology. Keep watching for a full author list and running order in the not-too-distant future.


Blogger Peter Pan said...

All sounds v exciting.

6:22 PM  

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